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Carcinogenesis. 2010 Dec;31(12):2091-6. doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgq208. Epub 2010 Oct 8.

Genetic modifiers of carcinogen DNA adducts in target lung and peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

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Environmental and Occupational Medicine and Epidemiology Program, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Measurement of carcinogen DNA adducts in blood has been used as a surrogate for the target lung tissue. We aimed to examine whether genetic polymorphisms in several metabolic pathway genes modify the relation between DNA adducts in target lung and blood. One hundred and thirty-five early-stage lung cancer patients from the Massachusetts General Hospital were studied. DNA adducts were measured by the (32)P-postlabeling assay in lung and blood mononuclear cells (MNCs) in a subset of 53 who had paired blood samples. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were assessed in genes involved in phase II (GSTs, NAT2, EPHX and NQO1), DNA repair (ERCC1, ERCC2 and XRCC1) and DNA methylation (MTHFR C677T and A1298C) pathways. There was a significant correlation between DNA adduct levels in lung and blood within the different genotypes, with one exception. Significant modifications in adducts were found by variants in genes for phase II metabolism [NAT2 (1.51 for rapid versus 0.76 for slow, P = 0.022)], DNA repair [ERCC1 C118T (P = 0.014), ERCC2 (P = 0.003) and XRCC1 (P = 0.025)] and MTHFR [C677T (P = 0.005) and A1298C (P = 0.005)]. The relation between DNA adducts in blood MNCs and target lung tissue was significantly modified by the single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the three main pathways. Despite the relatively small sample size, our results suggest that genetic factors may need to be considered when assessing the association of DNA adducts using surrogate tissue in studies of lung cancer. Further studies are needed to better understand their role and the mechanisms.

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